Wisconsin: Sales Tax Handbook
What purchases are exempt from the Wisconsin sales tax?
While the Wisconsin sales tax of 5% applies to most transactions, there are certain items that may be exempt from taxation. This page discusses various sales tax exemptions in Wisconsin.
Sales Tax Exemptions in Wisconsin
There are many exemptions to state sales tax. This includes, burial caskets, certain agricultural items, certain grocery items, prescription medicine and medical devices, modular or manufactured homes, and certain pieces of manufacturing equipment.
Many states have special, lowered sales tax rates for certain types of staple goods - such as groceries, clothing and medicines. Restaurant meals may also have a special sales tax rate. Here are the special category rates for Wisconsin:
These categories may have some further qualifications before the special rate applies, such as a price cap on clothing items. Groceries are generally defined as "unprepared food", while pre-prepared food may be subject to the restaurant food tax rate.
Candy and soda may be included or excluded from any preferential tax rate depending on whether or not the state considers them to be a "grocery":
Are services, shipping, installation, etc taxable in Wisconsin?
The taxability of transactions involving services, shipping, and installation of tangible goods can be slightly complicated with various laws applying to slightly different situations. To learn more about how these transactions, and other more complicated situations, are subject to the Wisconsin sales tax see the Wisconsin sales taxability FAQ page.
Other tax-exempt items in Wisconsin
This table lists a number of additional categories of goods and services that are exempt from Wisconsin's sales tax. For a list that also shows taxable items, see the list of taxable and nontaxable items in Wisconsin.
|Food and Meals|
|Grocery Food||EXEMPT *|
|Manufacturing and Machinery|
|Utilities & Fuel||EXEMPT|
|Medical Goods and Services|
|Newspapers and Magazines|
|General Occasional Sales||EXEMPT *|
|Optional Maintenance Contracts|
|Parts Purchased for Use in Performing Service Under Optional Maintenance Contracts||EXEMPT|
|Janitorial Services||EXEMPT *|
|Software and Digital Products|
|Custom Software - Delivered on Tangible Media||EXEMPT *|
|Custom Software - Downloaded||EXEMPT *|
|General Trade-Ins||EXEMPT *|
|Vending Machine Sales|
* See notes in category taxability page for details
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